Sebastian Izzard LLC Asian Art
KATSUKAWA SHUNSHŌ (1726–1792)
Ichikawa Yaozō II as Hachiōmaru Aratora and Segawa Kikunojō III as Aigo no Waka
Color woodblock print: hosoban, 12⅞ x 6 in. (32.7 x 15.2 cm); 1774
Signed: Shunshō ga
Published: Narazaki, Muneshige, et al. 1976. Shunshō. Vol. 3, Ukiyo-e taikei (Encyclopedia of Ukiyo-e). Tokyo: Shūeisha, pl. 26
Ichikawa Yaozō II (1735–1777) appears here as Hachiōmaru Aratora, the Shibaraku role of the play Chigo-zakura jūsangane, written by Horikoshi Nisōji I (1721–1781) and as performed for the first time at the Ichimura Theater in 11/1774. A disciple of Ichikawa Danjūrō IV (1711–1778), Yaozō was one of the leading Edo actors of his generation, especially famous for his talents as a tachiyaku (leading man) in both aragoto and wagoto (romantic lead) roles.
Shunshō portrays him here in confrontation with Segawa Kikunojō III (1751–1810) in the role of Aigowaka, the latter costumed in court robes decorated with chrysanthemums (kiku) in keeping with his name. Kikunojō was making his debut under this name, and later became one of the most successful onnagata (female role players) of the later eighteenth century. He had been promoted to his name Kikunojō III the previous month.